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Student Blog: The Brilliance of Pass Over by Antoinette Chinoye Nwandu

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My experience at the first play back from the Broadway shutdown

Student Blog: The Brilliance of Pass Over by Antoinette Chinoye Nwandu

I recently saw Pass Over in previews on Broadway, and I am so glad I was able to experience the energy of live theater again! Pass Over was written by Antoinette Chinoye Nwandu in 2018 and took inspiration from Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Two young men perform in a cycle passing the time and hoping things could be different until a stranger wanders in to disrupt their pattern. Overall, the play follows the theme of making your way out through profanity and slang terms warped into poetic philosophical questions.

Broadway was able to return due to the comprehensive and meticulous safety protocols put in place. I am so thankful for the efforts taken to keep audiences, staff, and performers safe. It was clearly communicated that all audience members were required to show proof of vaccination and photo ID to enter the theater. Masks were worn by the audience and staff for the entire night when not actively enjoying refreshments. Ventilation systems were running at full strength and the evening was an extremely safe and enjoyable experience.

What makes me most excited about Broadway's return are the new stories that can finally be told. Broadway is moving towards sharing previously unheard voices and perspectives, and while there is still a far way to go, there are efforts to be a more equitable environment. The current season consists of seven plays all written by Black playwrights. This sort of representation is unheard of in Broadway history, and can help to finally give Tony recognition to new and well deserving groups of artists. Theater has always been an art form that can help to educate and inspire audiences and performers, as they can have empathy for lives different than their own and expand their world view. There is still progress to be made, but all of the work done in 2020 is coming to fruition in a forward motion of support and representation.

The feeling I had sitting in a theater of twelve hundred strangers sharing a love for the art form we have been missing was unlike anything I have experienced. The air was filled with electricity and excitement as we sat in an anticipation built over a year and a half of a Broadway shutdown. Though I tried to capture it as I streamed performances from my couch, there is a sort of magic that you can only feel in the old familiar seats of a theater. The experience gave me hope for the full return of Broadway and the rest of the season lineup.

I highly recommend purchasing tickets to see Pass Over as soon as you can. I have had the privilege to see this show twice and would continue to see it if I could. The fast paced wit matched with intense emotion and complex themes presented a story that challenged my thinking and left me pondering as I exited the theater and re-entered my own life. The dialogue was ingenious and deceptively complex, with themes unlike anything I had seen prior on this scale. As a person living with great compliance to all protocols I felt very safe and valued as part of this return. I loved my time seeing Pass Over in previews and urge you to get your tickets now for this inspiring and powerful experience.


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